Psych-Out

on March 06, 1968 by BOXOFFICE Staff
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Dick Clark, former TV star and author of many articles on teenage problems, debuts as a full producer with this exploitation film in Pathe Color. Clark also has appeared as an actor in "Because They're Young" and "The Young Doctors." He has chosen the hippies as the subject of his first film and has re-united two stars from "The Trip," Susan Strasberg and Bruce Dern, in leading roles. Directed by Richard Rush, "Psych-Out" presents the hallucinatory world of flower children of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, who disavow the ills of society by isolating themselves in a unique culture of their own. Miss Strasberg is famed for originating the role of Anne Frank on Broadway. Dean Stockwell, who began in films as a child actor in 1945, plays a hippie who sacrifices his life to save a deaf girl (Strasberg) involved in a hallucinatory trip. Stockwell has scored dramatically in "Compulsion," "Sons and Lovers," and "Long Day's Journey into Night." Two prominent pop band groups, the Strawberry Alarm Clock and the Seeds, appear in the film. The screenplay by E. Hunter Willett and Betty Ulius, based on a story by the former, delves only superficially into the hippie problem and tends to be more exploitational than insightful. Will appeal to mature young people.

THE STORY:
Susan Strasberg, a 17-year-old deaf runaway, comes to Haight-Ashbury in search of her brother, Bruce Dern. Three hippies (Jack Nicholson, Adam Roarke and Max Julien) help her elude the police and take her under their wing. They take her to a hippie clothes store and introduce her to communal living. The search for Dern leads them to Dean Stockwell, who takes a liking to Susan. The search continues to an auto wreck yard where a wild brawl ensues. Dern later learns of Susan's arrival and goes to the Avalon Club to see her, but is forced to flee when spotted by thugs after his life. Susan becomes hysterical and Stockwell gives her a capsule of STP to calm her down. Unaware of what she has swallowed, she runs out into the night in search of Dern, who has barricaded himself in a house and burns himself alive. In a daze she wanders into a heavily trafficked thoroughfare. Stockwell is killed in an attempt to save her. She and Nicholson leave together, realizing their need for each other and their mutual contempt for society.

EXPLOITIPS:
Use local deejays to inform youth that this film was produced by famed American Bandstand personality and teen advisor, Dick Clark. Make music store tie-ups.

CATCHLINES:
Come where the pleasure loves are... Listen to the sound of purple and green and taste a moment of madness... Recommended for mature audiences. American-Int'l 101 mins.

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